Thoughts on PTCGO Tournament Test Weekend

I wanted to make known my opinion on PTCGO’s Tournament Test Weekend. I’ll do this by means of bullet points as the thoughts come to my mind.

  • Overall the entire experience was awesome. The quality of decks were really high, and the quality of play was fantastic. I actually enjoyed logging on and playing. Actually, that’s not true: I looked forward to playing! Normally I approach PTCGO in a type of co-dedependant manner: It’s my only vehicle for practicing, but I dread the entire experience because of… well… it’s PTCGO. I think everyone understands what I’m talking about.
  • Another word about the quality of play: since it was the tournament format, there was something at stake, and everyone had skin in the game, the decks were really streamlined and compelling. Nothing crazy - all meta decks.
  • The tournament interface took a bit of getting used to for me. I don’t really understand how the designers will grow the function from here. For those who don’t know: you could play in two types of tournaments. The following were identical between both types: Single elimination / 8 players / everyone gets some type of prize. The differences were the stakes. Low stakes = winning tournament tickets; High stakes = winning packs. I would have loved to see a greater variety of tournament types, sizes, payouts, etc. Perhaps this is forthcoming?
  • To my utter astonishment, I experienced no bugginess. I played as many N’s as possible and I tried to play Jirachi EX every match. It all worked flawlessly.
  • I think its great that you get the prize wheel after every match. If you win, you get the tournament payout plus three prize wheels. That’s cool.
  • I actually bought tournament tickets. While I didn’t need to do this as I’ve accrued a TON of tickets, I wanted to buy some for two reasons: 1) support the entire process financially so that they continue to develop it; 2) I wanted to see how that interface worked. The transaction was perfect and my tickets were immediately credited to my account. <FYI: you can by via PayPal or credit card.>
  • That being said, I was appalled at the entry cost of the tournament. In order to win packs, you had to pay six tournament tickets. If you win the tournament, your prize is 6 packs (plus coins, etc). While this may seem pitiful, it’s actually really steep because the cost to BUY tickets is $1 per ticket. $10 gets you 10 tickets; $100 gets you 100 tickets. At first I was outraged at the ridiculous pricing. It seems totally unreasonable that the value of four 8-player tournaments is identical to a Regionals caliber event. But then I started thinking: this cannot be what is intended long term. My theory: the developers are close to getting this thing online. They know that there is pent up supply of tournament tickets, so they must create an environment where the players will quickly divest themselves of all their tickets. This way, when the feature goes live permanently, the players don’t have a huge supply and must buy tournament tickets.
  • I have no idea how hard it is to write software, but I see no reason why larger tournaments with swiss style pairings cannot work in the very near future.
  • Along that same vein - I see no reason why a Ranking system, Championship Points awards, etc cannot eventually come online. It’s all right there.
  • It seems like this feature - with the correct prize payouts - will be enough to propel a lot of people into the game. I’m thinking of the “Mind if I Roll Need” comments here - with the right prizing, @JayHornung would definitely be on board.

I have other thoughts, but need to go. Oh: for those interested, I played in a total of 8 tournaments using four different decks. I won one and placed 2nd twice. They were all Standard. I really wanted to play some Expanded, but life happened and I ran out of time.

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This is really good to hear! The competitive aspect is what really draws me and many others into playing games. I would still prefer some sort of later to climb, but from the sounds of it 8 man tournaments are certainly moving in the right direction.

The other thing I really want to applaud you on is supporting the program…and understanding that “somebody has to.” Pokemon doesn’t do PTCGO for free and needs to make money (or at the very least break even). PTCGO intended customers aren’t the people who never buy packs and never buy tickets. The program could never survive if it was.

While a great variance in tournaments would be nice this would probably largely come down to having a large enough player base to support them. Maybe they do or maybe they don’t, but this is something to keep in mind. As the product gets better the program will grow and more fuctions will be possible.

An opinion/prediction I forgot to mention:

If they bring the tournament feature online resulting in many people being driven toward the game, I suspect the valuations of the cards will change immediately. For those who have been on the fence about playing the game, I would seriously consider investing in a card inventory now when code cards are .20 ea and you can get a Deoxys EX for 1 Phantom Forces pack… If they ever start hosting tournaments that people will flock towards, a Computer Search will be extremely expensive (in packs). A Virizion EX PLB 9 might be worth 36 packs at that point…

I think overtime this could certainly happen, but I don’t think simply adding tournaments will be enough to get that kind of draw right off the bat.

I agree 100% with you that increase draw of the product will in turn increase the value of codes and cards. This brings up another point though as to when does the game become inaccessible to new players or at what point do online cards value exceed the players…or will it happen.

I guess what I’m saying is would you reach a point where PTCGO simply became “to expensive” for you to warrant playing it? Would you be willing to spend similar money/value to that of actual cards?

I think if the game does get to a point like this they will have to strongly consider some sort of dusting system similar to hearthstone to keep the value of cards in check. So the collecting of a new set doesn’t seem like such a daunting task…perhaps I’m wrong, but one of the thing that I hate most of just buying/opening packs is I feel like I have incredibly hard time trading less desirable cards like commons or uncommons I have built up. Being able to simply “sell them” would be amazing.

When I wrote “tournament feature online resulting in many people being driven toward the game,” I did not have 8 person best-of-one / single elimination matches in mind. That is not a compelling tournament format. I had in mind something much more grand. Consider:

  • If they could get the tournament feature online by Nationals (highly likely?)
  • And their servers could handle demand for a huge tournament (highly likely?)
  • And they could program a best-of-three games per match (somewhat likely? I have no idea how hard that is to code that)

Then: they can offer some really cool International tournaments. And offer championship points as prizes. Which would finally bring some synergy between the chard game and PTCGO. I think demand for that would be huge, and they could make some money. How cool does this sound:

A 2,000 person tournament - best of three games - single elimination. Call it a Grand Prix style event. Top ??? get up to 3 byes (how “top” is determined can be debated). Top ??? finishers get Championship points (it can be debated how many people get what point distribution). A lot of people would be in on that, and that’s the type of demand I was talking about.

Your comments about cost and expense extend from this. There are PLENTY of people who play MTG exclusively online or exclusively paper because it’s too expensive to run both virtual and real cards.

There is like no way that a Pokemon online tournament could ever get 2,000 players. Maybe 500 at most.

I arrived at that number by extrapolation. Anecdotal: During tournament test weekend, 8 person tournaments would fill about every 10-15 seconds (during my periods of observation). Analytical: LCQ sells out at 512 - how many more would play if they didn’t have to travel?

You may be right - and even so 500 would be cool! But lots more would play if the payout hit the sweet spot…

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The bonus wheel doesn’t just give players a shot at extra tokens or tournament tickets, but the Mystery Gifts… that sometimes contain single cards. For example, Hypnotoxic Laser was on the Wheel for about a week.

I really would prefer being able to sell (or rather trade) cards for tokens. This would allow the current trading companies to truly become virtual card shops. It would simply be much easier to deal in “mundane” Commons and Uncommons if we weren’t currently stuck with a floating currency (the “pack” standard) that also is so hard to “make change” with. I mean, I need three Phanpy from PLB but trading for them takes so much time since I’ve basically got to make a public trade offer or overpay with a Trading Company (not that I have to overpay much, the numbers are just so messy…). I’ll probably break down and do it sometime tomorrow…

…but I am kind of holding out for “massive clearance auctions”. If you check the Public Trading Section, lots of people simply bundle their extra cards for trade, perhaps with one that is in a bit higher demand. You pay more than you would for the single, but due to the sheer volume of “extras”, there is usually at least one other card you wanted so that its still a (slight) bargain.

I wouldn’t mind something like the Dust system of Hearthstone so long as regular trading remained… but frankly I want something to do with my trade-locked cards. Not all of them, just the ones where I have more than the maximum allotted amount to play in a deck. Thinking about it, I would probably be more fond of the Hearthstone system in Pokémon because unlike in Hearthstone, I’ve amassed enough spare commons that getting an eight-to-one “trade” value doesn’t seem so stingy. If I’ve got the amount of Dust a common gives you versus what it costs wrong, let me know; I haven’t worried about it much because of how lopsided it is for me.

Oh, and something they did to help newer players:

Besides the fact that there are always Theme Deck tournaments, the eight different tournaments running were split between two each of Theme Deck, Unlimited, Expanded and Standard. One of each format’s tournaments had an entry cost in Tokens with a payout in Tickets. So those that weren’t sitting on like 300+ tickets could earn tickets that way. Should tournaments like these become a semi-regular “thing”, anyway

Hey Guys,

I really wanted to post my findings regarding the PTCGO Tournament over the weekend (all the way from Australia!!!):

  • In summary I felt this test was fantastic. I recorded 0 bugs or game freezes (vs the Freezes that occur when playing a Jirachi/N or any supporter during the “VS” mode of the game.
  • I think the format was perfect and the stakes were much higher ie Tokens, Boosters. This really made me take an extra 2-3 seconds before playing a card from my hand (I don’t play in RL btw but I assume if I did, I would be playing the same if not quicker).
  • Appreciated the fact you were reward after each game - To “win back” the cost of entering into the tournament.
  • Great to see the common meta decks in action plus a good chunk of decks that were quite different and interesting. (I only played Standard format)
  • Thought the GUI was good - You could browse throughout the game while you were waiting (if you won)
  • I was generally excited and privileged to see how the game has evolved over the last 3 years. ie From Beta till now.
  • People were friendly and talkative - Thought that was fantastic!

Improvements

  • I felt robbed that I had to pay for tickets considering I had over 4K of Coins already and 200+ tournament tickets PRIOR to the tournament starting. It felt like I had to pay to unlock what I’ve already earnt in the hours that I play. A bit rich considering I already spend a bucket load on boosters and codes anyway. I love pokemon and the game so I imagine this was used to pay for the feature/testing - I’m reasonable, so I can swallow that I guess lol
  • In addition to the above I felt the ticket entry of 6 tickets was a bit rich also. This concept would really separate those who can afford the outlay (being 30 and having a disposable income vs a student/child with no Credit card). I felt you could really turn off some players here. Additionally winning the standard format (the 55 coins one) for 4 tickets was robbery - So what your saying winning this tournament won’t even get you to the big league??? (6 ticket tourney)
  • While the 8 players tournaments were great, perhaps increasing the player size to 16/32 with increased prize pool. I imagine 8 was used as a good start/test case to begin with so I’m sure when this is 100%, the player limit will increase.

Overall this was great and I can’t wait to see the improvements - Whatever shape they are.

Those who actually care, I played 12 Standard Tournaments (6 tickets) which took about 12 hours or so:

  • WON 7 of them
  • Runner up for 2, knocked out in Rounds 1 and 2 for the other 3 - So not bad.
  • Used all your typical metas and rogues.
  • I SMASHED the Night Marchers and Donphans I ran into which were great :wink:
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Why did you need to buy tickets if you already had a stockpile of them? It was quite happy to just let me use the ones I already had.

For some reason, both my coins and tickets were on 0… Instead there was a a red icon, a circle with a line through it obviously signifying “NA”… As soon as I bought tickets, my coins were there along with the new updated ticket number ie my 200+ tickets plus the 10 I bought… It was odd.

I think that’s just a bug. It happened to me once during the test but logging out and back in again fixed it.

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Otaku I understand the bonus for the most part. My statement was directed at players who want to play at the highest level. IE always having the best and most updated list/s with each set release. How much is the competitive player willing to spend to stay at the level after each set release $20, $30, $50, $100? At point does the price outweigh the demand. I couldn’t settle playing only casually (if i wanted to use ptcgo on a regular basis) I would want to have the cards and decks I would want. I absolutely would be willing to spend $20 a set on this or $80 a year. I probably would not spend $100 a set or $400 a year.

At the risk of stating what is commonly known:

I have found PTCGO relatively cheap. Let’s say you wanted to run the two most expensive standard decks (currently) - 1) Landorus / Garbodor / LaserBank; 2) VirGen.

Your Big Basics deck will run you about 110-120 packs of PHF if you run three Landorus and no Lucario. This assumes the standard build of Hawlucha, Baby Landorus, 2-2 Garbodor line and 4 Laser 3 Virbank. It also assumes you need to acquire all of your other Trainers to include Computer Search.

Your VirGen deck will run you about 130-140 packs of PHF if your line is 4 Virizion & 4 Genesect.

This may seem kind of steep, but from there, you are home free! Once you have these two decks, you can build ANY Yveltal setup for just a few packs - less than 30 for just about all builds. Want a Metal deck after that? You’re looking at a bit more - maybe an additional 50-60 packs. But from there, you have just about everything you need for all the Seismitoad variations!

So lets say you spend another 30 packs on all your Seismitoad builds. You’ve outlaid 370-400 packs of PHF. You can get 100 packs of PHF for $30 all day on eBay. So for $120, you could come very close to building every significant meta deck with expensive EX’s.

Once your initial outlay is complete, you can gradually build into other cheaper decks by winning packs on Prize Wheel and trading them for optimal value. And buying into new releases is so easy and cheap. I know of no place that explains how to build a PTCGO collection quickly and cheaply so I could say much more - how to acquire quickly, how to save money, how to value packs for optimum trade return, etc. But I don’t know what people know. I found all this out by trial and error over the course of six months. If you want me to write an article, I could try to do that.

Oh - all this assumes you aren’t trying to trick out your deck! If you want SR and FA cards, then you will have to shell out some cash. A SR Ultra Ball is going for about $20 (60+ PHF packs).

I found Hearthstone to be a bit more expensive in the short term.

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Currently playing in this weekend’s test. Have to say that this might get me to play Expanded for the first time in months, and that it’s definitely running well.

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I have really enjoyed the two tournament weekends. The only down side is inflation. People have exchanged tickets for packs, so there are literally thousands of new packs circulating around. I have seen 3 people offer 100 packs in an attempt to get a SR Ultra Ball. I’m glad I got my 4 for 8-10 each. Those who win tournaments will have no problem with inflation. Those who don’t might have a hard time getting the new cards they need. I think the new Primal Clash cards will be the most expensive yet. The coins and wheel help, but it is still hard to get enough of the top EXs that way.

These tournaments have definitely been great for PTCGO. I’m actually typing this about a minute after I won a tournament with Tool Drop, and throughout all 3 games I only experienced one instance of lag, which was about a 3 second delay on playing an Ultra Ball. The reason I mention that I was playing Tool Drop is that with that deck, I frequently played 10 or more cards in one turn due to all of the Tools, item draw cards, and Electrode PLF. Despite my rapid fire playing down of cards, the iPad app handled it very well and it was another great experience overall.

Are you quite sure about that?

Not trying to be a smart aleck but actually asking as its been a while since I really learned these things. Yes, XY:Phantom Forces boosters are going to plummet in value, and some of the singles might take a hit as well as the supply goes up. Okay a few other booster packs are also more plentiful… but that isn’t actually changing the value of other cards.

I noticed that some of the trading groups have finally realized they should just create a “generic booster pack” or “standard booster pack” as a unit of value and then give trade ratios for actual booster packs. That way when we get the next set, instead of having to rewrite all the card values because “the latest booster is the unit of trade”, they just put the current trade ratio for each of the boosters and the prices for singles remains the same (barring other factors, like an old card becoming better or worse or being reprinted).

So… when I decide I want to trade for another Virizion-EX it still had a value of 14 “standard” or “generic” booster packs. If I’d been sitting on a huge pile of PHF boosters, then I would have been in trouble as their trade ratio shifted more and more so that you got less and less value per each booster but I wasn’t, and thankfully I think the general community is learning not to do that (my condolences to those that were, however). Instead, those like me began without [insert cards traded for] and ended with [insert cards traded for], so it didn’t matter too much if it would have been 14 PHF boosters before Friday versus 21 PHF boosters now.

Note: Not actual numbers… or at least not numbers I’ve recently checked. :wink:

You could end up being correct. As of right now the value of PHF packs is really low. As I noted earlier, people are offering 100 PHF packs for SR Ultra Ball where 60ish was the norm prior to the tournament weekends. I have noticed a decline in offers using non PHF packs, but the ones that are out there seem similar to the ones that were offered before the tournaments. I feel this will change. Prior to the tournaments I had 3 packs total. My total in now close to 200. So there are a lot more of every pack BC and on. I can’t see how it wouldn’t lead to an increase in the cost in terms of packs for most cards.

On a different note, I feel some of the trading card groups are corrupt. They never will give you the value they list when trading for one of your cards but will quote it like the bible when selling. Their listed value is always a lot higher than the mean and medium averages found on the public offers. Some of the "traders’ are good people, I just don’t trust many of them. I realize what they are doing. They are increasing their stock of cards by constantly buying low and selling high. People need to realize however, that there are much better deals available if they look for them.